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Daddy's Home: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

Daddy's Home (2015) movie poster Daddy's Home

Theatrical Release: December 25, 2015 / Running Time: 96 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Sean Anders / Writers: Brian Burns (story & screenplay); Sean Anders, John Morris (screenplay)

Cast: Will Ferrell (Brad Whitaker), Mark Wahlberg (Dusty Mayron), Linda Cardellini (Sara), Thomas Haden Church (Leo Holt), Scarlett Estevez (Megan), Owen Wilder Vaccaro (Dylan), Bobby Cannavale (Dr. Francisco), Hannibal Buress (Griff), Bill Burr (Jerry - Bully's Dad), Jamie Denbo (Doris), Kobe Bryant (Himself), John Cena (Cool Dad Roger), Paul Scheer (The Whip - Arena Radio DJ)

Buy Daddy's Home from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD DVD Instant Video

In the same month that Adam McKay displayed career-advancing growth as director and co-writer of The Big Short, a film that would win him the Adapted Screenplay Oscar and come close to taking Best Picture, his longtime creative partner Will Ferrell fell back into his comfort zone in Daddy's Home. This comedy reteams Ferrell with Mark Wahlberg, his co-star in his last PG-13 two-hander,
The Other Guys. That buddy cop action-comedy had McKay as a writer and director. This somewhat more family-oriented one does not. It hails from the less distinguished duo of Sean Anders and John Morris, who together contributed to the screenplays of We're the Millers, Hot Tub Time Machine, Dumb and Dumber To, and Horrible Bosses 2. Like the last of those, Anders takes the helm, picking up his first PG-13 directing credit to date.

Assigning lone story and one-third screenplay credit to veteran TV scribe Brian Burns ("Entourage", "Blue Bloods"), Daddy's Home sees Ferrell and Wahlberg playing variations on their head-clashing Other Guys personas. Ferrell is Brad Whitaker, an exec at soft jazz network The Panda. He is recently and happily married to Sara (Linda Cardellini) and treats her two children (Scarlett Estevez and Owen Vaccaro) like his own. They're slowly warming to Brad, but the emotional softie's how-to stepdad books can't prepare him for the competition he'll soon face from Dusty Mayron (Wahlberg), the kids' father and Sarah's ex-husband.

Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell) has his life turned upside down when his stepchildren's biological father re-enters their life in "Daddy's Home."

Dusty is back in town, on apparent leave from some covert military intelligence job he won't state. He's clearly determined to win back his ex and to ensure his kids love Dad more than Stepdad. Dusty is an obvious threat to the insecure Brad, who sees himself as inferior to his predecessor in every way. From turning a slow-moving treehouse project into a full-fledged backyard skateboard ramp to adopting a dog to making cinnamon buns that perfectly resemble Cinnabon's, Dusty quickly falls back into the kids' favor. Brad can't keep his cool in response, getting himself electrocuted with a skateboard stunt and having his story-telling boss (Thomas Haden Church) hire Dusty as the station's slogan reader, a one-time job that apparently pays extravagantly for life.

Daddy's Home keeps on serving up gently diverting situations like these. We recognize that one-upmanship is not really jeopardizing Brad's standing with the family. But Dusty is living with them for a week and soon he, the kids, and the plumber he rehired after convincing Brad to fire (an amusing Hannibal Buress, proving he's more than just the start of Bill Cosby's unending nightmare) are all getting swept up in Frozen together.

Ferrell and Wahlberg already proved their chemistry in The Other Guys, a movie that only seems better with time, even if it has never been as fully embraced and widely quoted as other McKay-Ferrell jams Anchorman, Step Brothers, and Talladega Nights. This reunion coasts on that chemistry, even if it rarely finds excellent ways to put it to use. There is the impression that the film was found in post-production, as a plot involving Brad's fertility (his ability to bear children has been compromised by an errant dental X-ray procedure) comes and goes nowhere in particular (with Bobby Cannavale as a highly respected, erratically-accented specialist).

Dusty Mayron (Mark Wahlberg) finds it easy to prey upon Brad's insecurities.

There's a bit filmed at a real NBA game (complete with Kobe Bryant's final big screen credit as an active player) that justifies the abundant Lakers gear on display without really paying off. There's a big motorcycle accident gag that relies on goofy-looking CGI. A few other running jokes, including one involving that suspiciously accurate Cinnabon,
do hit their marks and make us forgive the film's general lack of imagination, occasionally dubious product placement, and reliance on commonplace emotional manipulation. The big climax is among those scenes that call back and it kind of works. It's the type of thing you'd appreciate more as an aspiring comedy screenwriter than as a studio executive or a paying moviegoer.

As I suspected, my fellow critics were not enamored with the film, pointing out that Ferrell is up to his old tricks (which given his track record of commercial success, he certainly could be resorting to more often than he is). This toothless and formulaic comedy may be more on the order of something like Kicking and Screaming than his best material, but hey, I enjoyed Kicking and Screaming and even ten years of cynicism and saturation later, I found Daddy's Home to be a pretty good time, if not something you'll be compelled to revisit and quote regularly.

Moviegoers took to Daddy's Home, making the $50 million production a clear-cut hit with grosses of $149 M domestic and $239 M worldwide, both marked improvements over The Other Guys and every other predominantly live-action Ferrell movie since Talladega Nights all the way back in 2006. Paramount brings the comedy to DVD and Blu-ray combo pack on Tuesday.

Daddy's Home: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

1.78:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
BD: 7.1 DTS-HD MA/DTS-X (English), DTS 2.0/Headphone-X (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Descriptive Service)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish, Descriptive Video Service)
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese; BD movie-only: English SDH
DVD Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50 & DVD-9)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as standalone DVD ($29.99 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Flawless feature presentations are a dime a dozen these days on Blu-ray and yet, Daddy's Home still manages to impress somehow with Paramount's pristine, sharp, and detailed 1.78:1 transfer. The Blu-ray also packs a bigger punch aurally than you might expect, with the default 7.1 DTS-X/DTS-HD MA mix engaging with crisp dialogue and enveloping atmosphere and music. This isn't a movie you rave about on a technical level, but this Blu-ray's terrific picture and sound leave positively nothing to be desired.

"The Making of 'Daddy's Home'" takes us behind the scenes of filming. Kobe Bryant is honored to play himself in a Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg comedy.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Per Paramount's practices, Daddy's Home is joined by nine bonus features on Blu-ray and none on DVD.

First up, we get "The Making of Daddy's Home" (11:54), a featurette that is surprisingly just as standard and generic as it sounds. Its ordinary blend of behind-the-scenes footage, clips,
and talking heads sets the tone of what to expect from most of the extras here, though ostensibly it focuses on the project's origins, casting, and director.

Next, "Daddy-Off "(6:44) ruminates upon the story and conflict between the two leads. It provides glimpses of deleted scenes (including one not found on the disc) and outtakes (which surprisingly don't feature in any blooper reel here).

"Daddy-Daughter Dance" (5:11) describes the climactic sequence as if you can't just watch it for yourself. There's lots of talk about Wahlberg's moves and a bit of comedian Bill Burr, who also features in the scene.

"Halftime Stunt" (8:55) takes us behind-the-scenes of the January 2015 New Orleans Pelicans-Los Angeles Lakers game, covering the exciting challenge of filming at a real NBA game. Kobe Bryant discusses his involvement.

"Tony Hawk: Stunt Double" (4:02) reveals the skateboarding legend doubled for Will Ferrell and his evidently talented colleague did the same for Mark Wahlberg during that backyard scene.

Child actors Owen Wilder Vaccaro and Scarlett Estevez speak their minds in "Child's Play." Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) takes the coaching reins from Brad (Will Ferrell) and pushes for competitiveness in this deleted scene.

"Child's Play" (5:00) celebrates the film's two principal kid actors, with high praise from everyone and a look at their auditions.

"Hannibal Buress: The Perfect Houseguest" (5:36) applies praise to the scene-stealing comic, specifically his willingness to provide offbeat improvs.

"Blooper - Jeet Kune Do" (2:05) is about half set up and half showing Ferrell and Wahlberg struggling to get through a phrase in their bedtime story duel.

Finally, we get five deleted and extended scenes (7:38), which present a dad-stepdad car chat, Dusty taking over as coach and injecting some competitiveness into a children's basketball team game,
a near-parking ticket and motorcycle ride to the Daddy-Daughter dance, and an epilogue showing Dusty meeting his new love interest on a black ops mission.

The DVD, which is well under dual-layered capacity, does open with trailers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, The Big Short, and Zoolander 2. The same three play from the DVD menu's "Previews" listing. To keep the advertising current, the Blu-ray streams trailers, which in my experience always means it tries to stream and nearly gets through a single trailer.

After a very brief animated intro, the main menu of each disc settles on an image that is scored. The Blu-ray supports bookmarks.

The eco-friendly keepcase is topped by a glossy slipcover featuring the same artwork. Joining the plain gray and blue discs inside is your iTunes/UltraViolet-compatible Digital HD code. Like some other Paramount releases, the back of the insert also provides a unique code to net you $15 off your next Ticketmaster sports ticket purchase (take that, StubHub savings!).

A drunken Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell) spills his thoughts and prepares to take a half-court shot at halftime of the Pelicans-Lakers game.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Daddy's Home may not surprise or subvert, but it mildly diverts throughout its reasonable runtime. While this comedy lacks the wit and flair of a Will Ferrell/Adam McKay joint (the most obvious reference point being the superior The Other Guys), it provides enough chuckles to not mind its familiar formulas and few missteps.

Paramount's combo pack delivers first-rate picture and sound plus extras that are decent both in quantity and quality. Still, the movie is more of a rental and one or two time viewing than something you'll itch to revisit like Ferrell's most enduring films.

Buy Daddy's Home from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD / DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
New to Disc: The Big Short The Spoils of Babylon Drunk History: Season 3 The Night Before Don Verdean The Good Dinosaur
Will Ferrell: The Other Guys Get Hard Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Step Brothers Blades of Glory
Mark Wahlberg: The Fighter Pain & Gain The Gambler Invincible Transformers: Age of Extinction
From Writers Anders & Morris: Horrible Bosses 2 We're the Millers Hot Tub Time Machine She's Out of My League Mr. Popper's Penguins
Directed by Sean Anders: That's My Boy

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Reviewed March 19, 2016.



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